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The Transition House, Inc.

5 ways to help a family member with addiction


When a loved one or a family member is struggling with alcohol use disorder or drug abuse, it can be difficult for the whole family. While ignoring and avoiding the problem might seem easier, addressing their addiction as early as possible and providing a positive support system as they begin recovery is the best thing you can do for them. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Find help for your loved one struggling with addiction. Download our free resources:

Download Addiction Resources for Families

Learn about substance abuse and addiction

First, you should know that addiction is not a choice. Addiction is a complex and chronic disease like diabetes or high blood pressure. Start by recognizing the symptoms of substance abuse and addiction, and learn what the treatment options are.

Offer your support

If you recognize the symptoms of addiction in a loved one, offer your support. Let them know you are willing to help them find treatment or go with them to get help.

Let them know why you’re concerned

Your loved one may be in denial about their addiction. Give them examples of behaviors that worry you.

Know that your loved one needs help

You have probably heard your loved one say they can stop drinking or using if they want to or that their addiction is under control. Recovering from addiction requires treatment, and your loved one will need to learn new coping skills and address the underlying issues that are causing them to use drugs or alcohol.

Be patient, because recovery is ongoing

Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. Continue to check-in on your loved one throughout treatment and support them as they attend therapy and support groups.



Every person’s recovery looks different, and every family has a different dynamic. Remember, you can offer support, but do not make excuses for your loved one’s behavior. Avoid arguing with them, and don’t lecture or preach. Coping with a loved one’s addiction is difficult, but do not feel guilty about their addiction - it is not your fault.

The earlier you can address your loved one’s addiction and help them find treatment, the better. Recovery from addiction is possible. Your support can make a positive difference.

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